Nissan. Good with cars…..

….rubbish on politics!

The Nissan 350Z

The Nissan 350Z

Back in October, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga warned Britain that Nissan would have to reconsider its investments in the UK if we were rash enough to leave the EU.  I Tweeted a short rebuttal at the time.  But in the last few days, Mr. Shiga’s boss Carlos Ghosn has joined the fray (not for the first time, I may say), and reiterated the warning.  Mr. Ghosn, by the way, is a French-Lebanese born in Brazil, according to Wikipedia.

Nissan undoubtedly make some very good cars.  I am still smarting from the news that the hottest version of the Nissan Z-car is actually faster than my Jaguar XKR.  But it seems that they know more about cars than they know about the European Union.  At the same time as one major car company, Nissan, is calling for the UK to stay in the EU, we see another major automotive company, Ford, moving its van operations to Turkeyoutside the EU, but enjoying a free trade relationship with Europe — just as Britain will when we reclaim our independence.

I was also struck by a recent letter in the Telegraph from my good friend Philip Foster (a hero of the climate debate), pointing out that his Fiat was made in Turkey.  You could argue that an American company like Ford might not be too concerned about retaining production in the EU, but here we have a major company from one of the EU’s founding member-states, Italy, putting economics ahead of national interest.

So we have two major international auto companies (probably more if we did the research) who not only find a non-EU state a good manufacturing base from which to supply the EU, but actually prefer it, and transfer manufacturing operations there.  Against this backdrop, it is difficult to see the basis for Nissan’s increasingly frantic warnings against British independence.

It may be an unworthy thought, but I wonder perhaps if senior Nissan managers have some other agenda beyond the simple economics and trade implications of siting manufacturing in or out of the EU?  Could there be some benefit that Nissan receives from the EU, or some leverage that Brussels has over Nissan, that Mr. Ghosn is such a passionate advocate of EU integration?  Maybe it’s just that streak of French in his DNA.  But I propose to table a Written Question to the Commission asking whether there are any benefits to Nissan from the UK’s EU membership of which we may be unaware, or whether they are able to account for his attitude in any other way.

As Peter Simple used to say, “I only ask because I want to know”.

P.S.  It’s worth remembering that eleven years ago, that same Carlos Ghosn was warning Britain that Nissan production in the UK could be threatened unless we joined the €uro!   Guess what, we didn’t join, yet Nissan’s UK production goes from strength to strength – and the €uro has proved to be a disaster.  Ghosn was wrong then.  He’s wrong now.  Some people never learn.

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13 Responses to Nissan. Good with cars…..

  1. Chris says:

    Takeo Fukui, 2007:

    “Honda’s president Takeo Fukui has threatened to cut off future investment in Britain unless the country joins the euro, admitting that the Japanese car producer had made an “error” building its car plant in Swindon.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/2809443/Honda-tells-UK-Join-eurozone-or-else.html

    September 2001:

    “Honda’s new £130 million pound car plant at Swindon was officially opened today by the company’s President and CEO, Hiroyuki Yoshino.”

    http://www.swindonweb.com/office/?m=765&s=0&ss=0&c=2577&t=Honda+Invests+in+New+Second+Factory+for+Swindon

    “In February 2008 it was announced that Honda would be making an £80 million investment in new production facilities at the Swindon site for the manufacture of plastic car parts and metal castings for engines.”

    “In September 2012, Honda announced a £267 million investment programme the Swindon site, to support the introduction of new models of the Civic and CR-V and a new 1.6-litre diesel engine.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_of_the_UK_Manufact

  2. I still would not buy any Japanese car, a throwback to WW2, I still cannot forgive them as a nation for what they did to our prisoners.

    • Mike Stallard says:

      My Dad was a prisoner first in Changi then in Formosa (Taiwan).
      He deliberately did an act of forgiveness.
      I am glad.

  3. Bellevue says:

    Roger, I think you will find that because of Free Movement of Capital (one of the 4 principles of the Single Market) large corporations can choose where in the EU they pay tax. Its not that simple, but I reckon thats why so many want us to stay in……
    Also ancientpopeye…… my husband wont buy Japanese cars. His Dad worked on the Burma railways during the war.

  4. As an ardent Volvo Owner, I cannot for the life of me see how they managed to get a foothold in the Country in the first place! At least Volvo Parts were made here and Shipped off to Sweden and then repackaged into Blue Boxes and imported back into the UK. Swings and Roundabouts well maybe, but, that kept our own Steel Industry and others in production.

  5. johnd2008 says:

    I understand that my new Nissan Micra was made in India.When did India become part of the EU?

  6. Eric Worrall says:

    One explanation which makes sense is that Nissan plans to shift production out of the EU, but is hoping to shift the blame onto British policy, to appease the fanatics who run the EU. This is just speculation, I don’t have any evidence for this theory – but it is an intriguingly neat explanation for what is happening.

  7. www.rogerhelmer.com says:

    I guess it’s something to do with the Nissan/Renault link. Renault is largely owned by the French state. So indirectly, you could see this as the French government interference in British domestic politics.

  8. Chris says:

    Takeo Fukui, 2007:

    “Honda’s president Takeo Fukui has threatened to cut off future investment in Britain unless the country joins the euro, admitting that the Japanese car producer had made an “error” building its car plant in Swindon.”

    September 2001:

    “Honda’s new £130 million pound car plant at Swindon was officially opened today by the company’s President and CEO, Hiroyuki Yoshino.”

    “In February 2008 it was announced that Honda would be making an £80 million investment in new production facilities at the Swindon site for the manufacture of plastic car parts and metal castings for engines.”

    “In September 2012, Honda announced a £267 million investment programme the Swindon site, to support the introduction of new models of the Civic and CR-V and a new 1.6-litre diesel engine.”

  9. Mike Stallard says:

    I wonder how the Nissan people would react if we asked – nay threatened them – to join China? The EU and China have, I believe, the same Soviet constitution.

  10. Linda Hudson says:

    Nissan has, and still does enjoy U.K. tax payers money to help develop their product, and to stay in the U.K.!

  11. adams says:

    I believe Nissan Europe is owned by Renault . I also believe most of the production from Sunderland goes to outside the EU Empire . An unholy alliance has formed between the political elites and the big companies . They are desperate to keep the EU on track and with Britain buried inside .

  12. Pingback: Notorious Hells Angels hitman wants to move to UK | Jason' s Blog

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